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Discussion Starter #1
I am a stickler when it comes to checking and maintaining my oil levels.

I was wondering why my oil level had dropped since I did a filter change at 17,500kms. I had topped off the oil level to right on the full line on the dipstick and now that I have done 20,000kms it had dropped about 2-3mm on the dipstick. I started to worry that I was burning oil.

I decided that there maybe something in the fact that the oil does indeed expand when warm/hot compared to when it is cold.

I have now checked the oil after about an hour after turning the motor off(to let it all drain to the sump properly) instead of in the morning when it has cooled to room temp. The oil level is right on the full mark when warm and when checked in the morning it is down 2-3mm.

It was quite disconcerting as when I was using the dino oil up to 12,500kms, it wasn't using any oil, so I was quite worried when I THOUGHT it was burning the fully synthetic. The time when I was running the dino oil was in summer, so when I checked it in the morning there was very little difference in oil level, due, I guess, to the fact that it is still very warm on a summers morn. Now that it is winter and I am running the fully synthetic the difference when the motor is warm and the very cool winter morning temp is quite marked.

Just a little tip for anyone checking oil, especially for our American friends as it gets even colder over there.

Has anyone else noticed this?
 

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2-3mm?!? Do you have that small of incriments on your dipstick? Wow, to be honest, you are being way too picky with your oil level. A lot of times when you check the oil it is not all back in the sump(pan) like you stated. In the morning without even starting the motor is the best time to check your oil level.
Why? Because you haven't added any other variables like heat, and oil in the upper part of the engine waiting to slowly drain back into the pan. And also make sure the car is on a level surface.
Some Impreza owner's have had great despairities with oil levels taken at different times after the engine has shut off. And I have always said it is best to check a cold engine in the morning. But if you have to, wait at least five minutes after the engine is off before a check. Brian
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Brian,

I check the oil in my garage which is level.

So this begs the question as to which is the correct time to check oil. When it is cold or when it is warm and slightly more expanded. As I said I let it sit for an hour to let the oil drain into the sump but it was still very warm and the level was to the full mark. But when checked in the cold morning it was down about 2mm or so.

I know I'm being picky but it wasn't really the reason for my concern. It was more because I thought I was burning oil when I obviously wasn't and the fact that the oil does seem to expand/contract to that degree.

2-3mm?!? Do you have that small of incriments on your dipstick?
It's just that at the full mark I have a level to read off and when it drops below this I have a mark to measure by.
 

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I still say wait until the engine is cold (as in the morning) to check the oil. All that proves is that 98% off all the oil the engine holds should be back in the pan. And isn't that what it's really about, how much oil is in your engine no matter what the temp is.

I mean sure the oil expands when it heats up, but I wouldn't think it would be enough to cause a volume issue of too much oil when it is warm. So I would just go by that, measure it cold if you can and add a tad on the dipstick for expansion. Does that sound any better? The main thing is not to check the oil right after the engine is shut off and very hot, like checking the oil at a gas station right after you pull over. Wait until the gas tank is full, then check the oil. My .04$ Brian

P.S. 2mm? I still think that is very picky, but hey, we're all quirky like that somehow with our Subies. I don't let anyone touch, let alone lean against my Subie!
 
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bheinz57
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